New social security net planned

July 20, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:45 am IST - NEW DELHI

Scheme will provide universal coverage to workers in formal, informal sectors

Bandaru Dattatreya

Bandaru Dattatreya

The Union government plans to introduce a universal social security network for workers in both the informal and formal sectors. The scheme will be rolled out in a phased manner, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Amnesty scheme

To a question, Mr. Dattatreya said that after demonetisation, the Ministry had started an enrolment campaign, and from January 1 to June 30, the government brought in an amnesty scheme for employers who were earlier not part of the Provident Fund regime.

During the exercise, the workers employed from April 2009 to December 2016 were also included. More than 1.3 crore new workers were brought under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) regime.

Mr. Dattatreya said 20 lakh new employees were included as part of the amnesty scheme and 80 lakh contract labourers, including construction workers and those engaged by the public sector units at the Centre and the States, were also registered. The Labour Minister said the EPF security network currently covered 4.8 crore contributory members and had a corpus of over Rs. 10.43 lakh crore.

However, some members including Sanjay Seth and Naresh Agarwal (SP) were not satisfied with the Minister’s reply to a question about a proposal to lower the employee’s and the employer’s contribution from the present 12% to 10%. It was opposed in the 218th meeting and therefore, the government could not make any decision on that, Anil Desai said.

IT sector

Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu raised the issue of IT sector employees, stating that there was no superannuation fund in the country and EPF alone was the support for the employees who were retiring or getting terminated.

“Take any cosmopolitan city, services of thousands of IT employees are being terminated. As the Labour Ministry is not having any control over IT companies and multinational corporates, what is the measure that the Labour Ministry is intending to do to the Employees’ Provident Fund to protect the IT sector employees..,” he asked.

Mr. Dattatreya said the law might confine to wages of those who had got a ceiling of Rs. 15,000, for that EPFO eligibility would be there. Apart from that, the government would provide social security to IT workers and also IT employers. Loan, PF, Pension, everything would be protected under wages’ safeguards.

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